Pop up mermaid shop: Colchester

October saw my very first pop up shop, at the Minories Gallery at the end of Colchester High Street.

It was an unusually sunshiney day for October, filled with lovely people both stallholding and visiting.

Pop up shops and market stalls are a great way for my lovely customers to be able to see my stock, try samples (the brushes are so soft!) and also to meet me and ask any questions they have about mermaid photoshoots or mermaid hen dos.

I always take an album with me so people can get a feel for what it would be like to experience being a mermaid, and I try to have scale makeup on, if not my full tail as it’s not very practical while running a shop!

If you’ve been lusting after some mermaid accessories, I often have extra stock that has arrived during the week and I haven’t yet listed on the website – so it’s always worth a visit. Plus there are other lovely traders selling beautiful things too.

Next pop up shop dates: 

  • 4 November 2017 at the Minories, Colchester
  • 2 & 3 December 2017 at a secret location, also in Colchester

Here are a couple of photos of my stall, courtesy of my fab friend Anna who came to help me set up ūüôā

Mermaid pop up shop Colchester | mermaiding.co.uk

I had an unexpected extra table, so was able to put out my Fin Fun stock too, which was lovely:

Mermaid pop up shop Colchester | mermaiding.co.uk

Mermaid pop up shop Colchester | mermaiding.co.uk

Mermaid pop up shop Colchester | mermaiding.co.uk

Mermaid gifts – new goodies in the mermaid shop!

Apologies in advance, mers, I’m about to say the C-word….¬†Christmas.

Yes, it’s late September, so as a small business owner, I am already thinking about Christmas! And so might you be, as it’s payday ūüôā

Ways I can help with the Christmas madness:

Mermaid gift ideas

The online boutique

Is there a mermaid, or an aspiring mermaid, in your life? (Or is it secretly you?)

mermaid gift ideas, gift ideas for mermaids | mermaiding.co.uk/shop

We all know at least one, and if you like mermaids there’s a good chance you also like unicorns and all things magical and fairytale. To this end, I have been stocking the shop with all kinds of goodies, so you can start to stock up early on everything from make up brushes to jewellery to mermaid tail blankets.

The craft market

When was the last time you went to an actual place to browse and buy actual things? (Not for a while, if you’re anything like me – I spend far too much time online these days!)

Mermaids aren’t yet mainstream enough for me to have an actual high street shop – but I see no reason why I can’t have a high street presence anyway. So from October I will be having a regular stall at the Minories gallery in Colchester, on the first Saturday of every month. (Except October, which is on the 14th due to graduation ceremonies).

Mermaid Kerenza Sapphire in the lake | Mermaiding UK | mermaiding.co.uk

Pop in and say hello – there’s a high chance I’ll be wearing a tail on the day!

The mini photoshoot

If you or someone you know has always wanted to be a mermaid, my mini sessions are a perfect way to try it!

A studio based photography session with full access to the Mermaiding UK tail wardrobe and props box, it’s an ideal Christmas gift (or any other time of year gift, come to that).

Half term sessions are running on 28 October 2017 – click here or the picture below for full info and to book. I can also produce gift certificates for the next sessions, dates to be confirmed, for Christmas purposes ūüôā

Mermaid Mini Sessions advert | mermaiding.co.uk

And finally…

I’m collaborating with artist Rhiannon Bull to create custom fantasy art with you as the centrepiece – drop me an email if you’re intrigued by this and I’ll send you the gallery as soon as it’s up.

I also offer portrait sessions, either in your own tail or using one of mine, throughout the year. More details coming soon!

Hopefully that’s helped to ease the Christmas panic a little bit – don’t forget to tag @mermaidinguk with all your mermaid antics!

Mermaid Mini Sessions – be a real mermaid!

Mermaid Mini Photoshoots | Mermaiding UK | mermaiding.co.uk

I’m combining the two things I’m asked for most – photography and mermaid tails!

Lots of people have said they’d love to book a hen party/birthday party, but don’t have enough friends who’d be willing to do the mermaid thing.

I would say get different friends, but figured it’d be much easier to just put together some mermaid photoshoots instead…

Using the gorgeous Loft studio in Colchester, you’ll get to choose your tail from the Mermaiding UK wardrobe, raid the props box for your favourite accessories, and then have a 20-30 minute photoshoot as a mermaid.

The session includes four professionally edited photos with a print licence for personal use – if you decide you can’t live without the others, you’ll be able to order more on the day.

It’s time to show the world your inner mermaid – with beautiful photographs!

Find out when the next sessions are and book your place by clicking here.

Portrait sessions for professional & hobbyist mermaids, and fantasy art sessions collaborating with artist Rhiannon Bull, are also on the cards – hop on the MerMail list to keep posted!

Mermaid tails and safety

Tackling the recent scaremongering in the press has suddenly shot up my priority list, after a series of badly researched articles in some actually quite sensible newspapers. To my shame, one of them is one I used to work for…

Here’s the thing.

Mermaid tails are not inherently dangerous.

Photography by Grace Hill for Mermaiding UK

No more than snowboards, skis, BMX bikes, pole dancing, scuba diving, archery, getting on an aeroplane, driving, or any number of other perfectly normal sports & pursuits.

In all of which yes, you can die. If you are stupid enough to undertake a sport without any training and push it and your body to extremes, if you don’t take sensible precautions, if you undertake a sport alone with no buddy or safety spotter, and sometimes if you are just extremely unlucky.

The current story doing the rounds highlights one Harry Byatt, who drowned while snorkelling, wearing a monofin, in Zakynthos this summer.

While his death is of course tragic, he was not mermaiding – he was wearing a monofin, as divers and freedivers and snorkellers worldwide have done since the 1970s.

Freediving, while an extreme sport, is generally considered dangerous due to the extended breath hold and the depths divers reach, rather than the fin, which is simply a propellor.

He was not wearing a mermaid tail. He was not teaching mermaiding. Harry Byatt’s death had nothing to do with mermaiding. His death is, unfortunately, getting a lot of press attention because his mum was lady-in-waiting to Princess Diana. Which has nothing to do with mermaids or mermaiding.

Starting slowly

If you have never touched a snowboard before, you don’t strap yourself to one and immediately launch yourself down the nearest black run with no training, backup or practice.

If you use your bike to commute to work on a road, you don’t start flinging it around underneath you the first time you ride it down a ramp at a skate park.

If you don’t drive, you don’t get in the nearest car, learn how to change gear and then immediately rag it round a racetrack at 100mph.

Similarly, if you have never worn a mermaid tail, you don’t start in the sea and you don’t immediately start trying to do tricks.

Like any other piece of sports equipment, you spend time getting used to it, you learn how it works and its limitations.

My recommendation for your first few swims in a mermaid tail is to make sure you’re in water you can stand up in – stay in the shallow end, or use a pool with a constant depth. It means if you do get into difficulty, you can just right yourself and stand up, or kick off the tail and stand up.

Never swim alone

The first rule of swimming, let alone mermaiding, is never swim alone. Never, ever, even get into a pool without someone else around who is capable of getting you out of the water in an emergency.

Regardless of your ability, experience and knowledge, accidents can and do happen, so swimming with a buddy is the safest way to enjoy the water. With or without a tail!

Children in tails

If you are a parent with a child who is desperate to be a mermaid, it is your job to make sure they are safe. This means:

  1. Making sure they can actually swim before letting them try a tail.
  2. Don’t just buy them a tail, help them put it on, coo at how sweet they look and then let them get on with it – it’s not difficult but it is a different movement to the ones taught in most swimming lessons, so will take some getting used to.
  3. If buying a tail, doing your homework and making sure it is reputable and has safety features (like the ones I’ve chosen to stock, which have quick release foot pockets, are buoyancy neutral and are open ended).
  4. Staying with your child and keeping an eye at all times while they are swimming.
  5. If possible, booking a mermaid class so they can learn in the safest possible environment. Reputable classes will have full insurance for mermaid swimming.
  6. Not letting them swim alone or just with their friends, with a tail.

This is basic common sense – and if common sense is used, mermaid tails and monofins are no more dangerous than any other piece of sporting equipment.

If I sound patronising or like I am stating the obvious, it’s because there is an old video which does the rounds every now and again, where the captions are all “mermaid tails cause small child to nearly drown” and when you watch it, it’s obvious that the pool is too deep for the child’s ability even without a tail, and the parent just leaves the child to it, and she doesn’t have the ability to right herself.

Remember the pros have training (and insurance)

Professional mermaids make it look easy – with their beautiful photos, long breath holds, underwater grace, open eyes and bubble kisses, they can give the impression that anyone can do this.

It’s (literally) their job to make it look realistic and effortless.

Mermaid Kerenza Sapphire swims underwater at Haraki Beach | Mermaiding UK | mermaiding.co.uk

While I don’t want to shatter the illusion of real mermaids, especially for little ones for whom it is completely magical, I do want to emphasise that these ladies and gentlemen generally have a lot of training, a lot of experience and are not to be blithely imitated without similar training and experience.

Don’t push your limits

Mermaid tails are not inherently dangerous. Monofins are not inherently dangerous. But like any sport and sporting equipment, they can be dangerous if used improperly, without training and without regard for safety and common sense.

The rising trend in mermaiding is not going to lead to more drownings unless people’s stupidity rises along with it.

Even real mermaids need to stay safe

Don’t swim alone, keep an eye on your kids, don’t try swimming in a tail if you’re not a strong swimmer, swim in lifeguarded areas – if you do all of these things, your tail will bring you more joy than I can articulate.¬†

I am always happy to talk about safety – drop any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

With love & narwhals (because underwater unicorns),

Mermaid Kerenza Sapphire xoxo

P.S. Though Mermaiding UK specialises in mermaid photography & crafting parties, the bespoke pool & spa parties we do arrange are fully insured and lifeguarded. So you can relax and enjoy being an actual mermaid!

Primark mermaid makeup haul

It’s no secret that mermaids love sparkle and glitter, and this mermaid loves it so much she wears it whenever makeup is called for.

Mermaid hen parties also get through copious quantities of any makeup which is shimmering, sparkling or glittering – it goes with the territory.

So I am always on the lookout for glittery goodness to add to the Mermaiding UK props & makeup box, and this weekend I hit gold in Primark, of all places!

I’d gone in for the new Harry Potter collection (which you can read more about over on my personal lifestyle blog), and tripped over all these beauties. Needless to say they all came home with me and are now stashed in the studio, ready for the next party <3

Primark mermaid makeup | Mermaiding UK | mermaiding.co.uk

Clockwise from bottom left: Mermaid tweezers, £1.50 | Metallic lip glosses set £3.50 | Glitter makeup bag (so much more mermaidy than the chocolate satin one I have been using) £6 | Highlighter cream in pearl & gold, £3 each | Holographic lip gloss set in Fantasy, £3.50

I also picked up a gorgeous glitter clutch bag for use in my non-mermaid life:

I’ll sort out a post or video swatching them in the next few weeks, but I am very happy with the quality so far – I’m no makeup snob, but I do like makeup to apply nicely, and to behave itself and not slip off at the first available opportunity!

The Mermaiding UK makeup box is full of everything from Chanel & Urban Decay to Primark & Collection 2000 – I collect shimmery makeup like Ariel collects cutlery!

What’s your favourite mermaid makeup?

Finis Luna monofin first look

It’s here!! The kind folks at Finis lent me their new mermaid range to try out, including the Luna silicone monofin and I am so excited to have got my fins on it!

Aside from sharing a name with my little black cat, the Luna is exciting as it’s the world’s first silicone monofin, and it’s mermaid shaped – so it’s a great way into mermaiding without a full tail.

finis luna monofin first swim | mermaiding.co.uk

It’s also softer than plastic (like Fin Fun, Hydra and the other Finis fins) and rubber (like Mahina), and so I think would probably fold well into a suitcase for mermaiding on the go. I’ll give that a go for the next video, actually!

Here’s my first look / first swim video – I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it! Will do a full review in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy the Luna loveliness:

You can also watch the video on YouTube ūüôā

Don’t forget to subscribe to Mermaiding UK on YouTube for more mermaid videos!